Monday, February 23, 2015
First of all I want to start out by wishing Alexa a very Happy Birthday!! You're already 16!! That's too old! It seems unreal that you're old enough to drive on your own! Make sure you don't wreck the car! Hey how is everyone doing back home? I'm sorry to hear about all the cold weather you've been having. It get's a little miserable after a while. But it's always nice to get a break from school! You only had one day of school last week!? That's crazy. That's a pretty good week though. Those weeks are the best.
So ya, the new missionaries should be able to come to Taiwan this coming week. It's about time! They've been waiting in the US for about 4 months or so and are probably so excited to finally make it here. I hope that means that the visa problem will be resolved permenately. It's really going to mess up the swing of things in the mission here later on.
Well this past week was Chinese New Year! What that meant for us, was a lot of food! Even more than usual haha. We went over to someone's house at least 2 times a day for lots of good food. I know Dad you said when you lived in Taiwan they had lots of celebrations around New Years, but unfortunately they don't do that anymore. It kind of slowly died out and now only in certain rural areas do they put on big parades and celebrations like that. It's too bad. I was really looking forward to seeing a cool Chinese celebration, but all they do during New Year is visit family and eat. Pretty much everyone gets work off for the whole week and everyone is visiting their family. The streets were all pretty much deserted and all the shops closed down. It looked like a ghost town! Unfortunately, since everyone was visiting family, no one really wanted to meet with us so we could teach. We mainly spent our time eating, and out biking around finding people to talk to. I got to try my first taste of cow stomach this past week. It actually wasn't too bad. It had some good seasoning so it tasted fine. As for the rest of the foods, I don't really know what I ate. Most of it was all mixed with other stuff and impossible to tell the original form. I could've been eating anything! haha.
F... passed his baptismal interview yesterday so he's all set to be baptized this coming week! He has really changed a lot over the course of time here, and I'm really happy for him.
Well, I was looking forward to a nice pday today so I could relax and go do cool stuff, but apparently this pday we are supposed to spend all of our time cleaning our apartment! Nooo! What a waste of a pday! And we have the biggest apartment in the mission with just Elder Smith and I to clean it. I'm not really looking forward to later on today....
That's pretty much everything going on here. Things are going well and I'm still healthy. I hope everyone has a great week! Sure love you all!
Monday, February 16, 2015
I hope everyone is doing well! I'm sorry to hear that the weather is so miserable back home. If it makes you feel any better, pretty soon I'll be miserable too with all the humidity that is coming my way! Yeah I'm not too excited about that.
This week started off a lot like last week. Every lesson that we had planned canceled on us until Friday. We just basically tracted and talked to people on the streets for most of the time. It's really hard to actually find anyone to teach now because GuoNian, Chinese New Year is coming up this week. Everyone is really busy and going to be out of town with family. Then the last three days we had a ton of lessons and hardly had any time to rest. I wish that they would space themselves out throughout the week, but I'm not complaining about having lessons.
We taught F... the Word of Wisdom and he was a little reluctant at first to give up drinking. He said that he would try slowly quitting and he could eventually do it. We asked him, well why not right now? He surprisingly agreed and said that he would quit right then and there. I believe he'll do it too. He's had to make lots of changes from his former religion, but he said that he's really noticed a difference in his life and is a lot happier. It hasn't been easy for him to live away from his family in a country where he can't really speak to anyone. He struggled for the first year being here, but he said that ever since he found us, he's been a lot happier.
Last week, a guy named C... Dx and his girlfriend D... J... just randomly showed up to church. I'd never seen them before, but apparently C... has not attended Church in a while and just decided it was time to come back. His girlfriend is really cool, but shy. She is not a member, but is really interested. After the second lesson, she agreed to set a baptismal date for April! I hope she's not just agreeing to follow her boyfriend, but I don't really think so. She wasn't like jumping straight into accepting the date. She really thought about it for a while. That was a pretty big miracle that came right to us.
Last pday we went to an old fort in AnPing that used to be occupied by the Dutch a long time ago. It was pretty cool. There isn't a whole lot left of the original fort, but there were a few walls remaining. Today we are planning to have a ping pong tournament with some other missionaries. I'm pretty excited, because I haven't play some good ping pong in a long time. I've probably gotten pretty bad now. Every chapel has a ping pong table, but we literally never use it and the one time we did, everyone was bad. I guess the stereotype about Asian being sweet at ping pong is not always accurate. Well that's about it for the week. I love you all!
An Ping, Dutch Fort
My Trusted Steed
Monday, February 9, 2015
Well it's been a pretty cold week here in Tainan. The wind is really blowing hard, and the skies have been pretty overcast. It's not too bad during the day with my rain coat on, but riding home at night is the worst! I'm not going to complain too much though, because I'll probably miss the cold when it's the middle of the summer and everyday my clothes are completely soaked with sweat haha.
This week was pretty good. The majority of our lessons got cancelled though so that was sad. On Friday, we had 3 lessons in a row cancel or just not show up. So we just had to go out and tract for the rest of the night. It was a pretty rough time though, and people would hang up (they always have the doorbell speaker things) on us when we said we were missionaries. But as in all miracle stories, we came to the last door on the street and met a really nice man named R... I didn't even have a chance to introduce myself before he said he wanted to go down to the Family Mart down the street and meet with us! He has some family who live in Utah, and are LDS (I think) and he goes back there occasionally. He recently has been having lots of trials and has been looking for answers. He just jumped straight to having us teach him from the scriptures and asking us lots of questions. He had a big exam to take this past weekend, but he wants to meet next weekend and I hope there could be some real promise with him!
On Saturday, another 5 lessons cancelled on us, but on Sunday things were made up, and F... agreed to be baptized on the 28th of February! He completely changed after seeing D..., a fellow Filipino, be baptized. He was originally really afraid of the flack he would get from his family and friends, but after seeing D...'s faith, he had a strong desire to do it! He still has a few issues to resolve, but he is really excited to be baptized as soon as he can!
Some interesting events of this week, last pday we went to another chidaobao in honor of D... (a really cool member) returning for a while from Dang Bing (mandatory military service). For those of you who don't know, chidaobao means "eat until full". chi=eat dao=to bao=full. So it's a chinese version of an all you can eat buffet. This one was a huoguo (hot pot) so we had little pots of boiling water that we would put anything we wanted in to cook. There is tons of stuff to eat! Some interesting stuff was mini octopus, which is really chewy, but not very flavorful. They also have little bricks of rice soaked in pigs blood that are.. not the best. I didn't know what is was but one of the natives said it was good so I ate it. It's not good. And neither is pidan. The thousand year old egg! It's a super famous Taiwanese food that is really really disgusting. It's an egg soaked in a bunch of weird stuff so it looks blue and green. It's fills your mouth and nose with an aroma similar to formaldehyde. I think baloot was actually better haha.
Well that's about it for the week. I'm still hangin in there. I love you all very much and hope you have an awesome week!
Monday, February 2, 2015
Well another transfer is done, and it appears that I will be staying in Tainan for a while longer. We still haven't had any of the new missionaries arrive because of the visa problems. Therefore, the Mission President is holding off moving everyone around until they get here. I'm so thankful that I was able to get to Taiwan as fast as I did. I thought that 2 months was a long time to wait, but it has been about 3 months for the other missionaries now and who knows when they will be here.
This past week was lots of fun. We had our English Party on Wednesday. It was Harry Potter themed. A lot of the younger members of our ward came and they had some pretty sweet homemade costumes. We didn't really have any time to make or get costumes so I just wore a green tie and said that I was Malfoy. Elder Smith was Harry Potter and Elder Page was Dumbledore. They both had costumes so for the entire night I kept getting comments like "Why don't you have a costume? Who are you supposed to be?" We had some quidditch, wand making, potions, cookies, and a little play at the end of different parts of the movies. We actually just kind of winged the play at the end and made it up as we went. So for in-between the scenes, I just danced on the stage. I don't really know how to break dance but whatever I did, everyone loved it and wanted videos. It was probably just amusing to see a white kid doing a really poor job of dancing. It's all good though. They enjoyed the party.
More importantly this week, D... and L...Dx were baptized! Yes!! It was so good. D... was so happy and had tears in her eyes. She really wanted to be baptized. L... Dx had always tried to hide the fact that he wanted to be baptized, but he wasn't able to hide it after he was baptized. He looked happier than I had ever seen him before! I'm so happy for them. D... has a rough time with all her coworkers though. They are from a different religion and tear her to pieces every time about her betraying God and about all the bad stuff that will happen. She has a strong testimony and endures without fighting back against them. She still needs lots of prayers though.
So does L... Y... H.... He is having a tough time quitting smoking, and we will have to push back his baptismal date. He's also having second thoughts about baptism being worth quitting his addictions. I hope that he can recognize it's importance!
We went bowling last week on pday, and I got a score of 161! I'm slowly working my way up there! We also went to a chidaobao and I got to hang out with a MTC buddy Elder Varvel. That was fun. We're going to another chidaobao today because D... is on a break from DangBing (mandatory military service) and is leaving again tomorrow.
Some other fun things. All over Tainan, they have little parks with grass and trees. They also have a bunch of outdoor workout equipment that the senior citizens can use. There is literally always somebody using the stuff and they're probably in their 60s or 70s. That's another way they all stay strong at that age. I don't know if I've said this earlier, but all the garbage trucks here play classical music on them like "Fur Elise". I thought it was an ice cream truck at first but was pretty disappointed when I found out otherwise. Using chopsticks is actually pretty easy. They all prepare the food in bite sized pieces (usually) so it's pretty convenient to use chopsticks. They have some really weird spoons for soups and stuff. It actually feels really weird whenever I use a fork or a knife! Using chopsticks is so much nicer!
Well that's about it. I hope everyone has a good week! I love you lots!
Tainan, Taiwan Stake Conference